July 10, 2018 – The death toll from torrential rains that hit western Japan and other areas had risen to 131 in 13 prefectures by 12:30 p.m. today after more than 72 hours had passed since the start of the disaster, according to a tally by the Japanese Government.
The whereabouts of at least 84 people remain unknown. The survival rate of missing people sharply drops after 72 hours have passed, according to experts. Authorities are stepping up efforts to search for and rescue missing people in disaster-hit areas.
In the meantime, the Fuchu Municipal Government in Hiroshima Prefecture issued an evacuation order to residents near the Enoki River after it received a report at around 11 a.m. this morning that the river was flooding. The nearby Fuchu Municipal Elementary School suspended classes and evacuated all children to the third floor of its building.
A large number of elderly people lost their lives in the torrential rains. A total of 28 people died in the Mabicho district of the Okayama Prefecture city of Kurashiki, where about 30 percent of the neighborhood was submerged by floodwaters, and 20 of the victims whose ages have been confirmed were aged at least 65.
In the Mabicho district, the bank of a branch of the Takahashi River broke, which is believed to have caused floods to engulf houses in a short period of time, spotlighting the fact that elderly people vulnerable to serious disasters died without being able to evacuate.
According to the Okayama Prefectural Government, the 20 victims were aged 66 to 91. One of them, a woman in her 70s, died after losing sight of her family while fleeing together. A man in his 90s was found dead on his bed on the first floor of his home. Both of them may have drowned.
Numerous residents of the neighborhood remain unaccounted for. Earlier today, local emergency services are continuing to visit mainly households consisting of elderly members to confirm their safety. Therefore, the number of deaths could further increase.
Three people had been found dead by July 10 in the Hiroshima Prefecture town of Kumano where numerous houses were hit by landslides. There are reports that multiple residents remain missing, and prefectural police and the Self-Defense Forces are continuing search and rescue work.
Meanwhile, the Japan Meteorological Agency forecasts that the maximum daily temperature will continue to exceed 30 degrees Celsius in disaster-hit areas for the next week. The temperature had risen sharply already on the morning of July 10, surpassing 30 degrees in the Ehime Prefecture city of Seiyo. The agency has warned residents to take precautions against heatstroke.